Norwich Focus - Lack of goals hindering Canaries ahead of daunting Liverpool trip
With just one point from their last five Premier League games, Norwich City’s excellent unbeaten run before Christmas seems like a distant memory.
The Canaries played out a dreadful 0-0 draw with Newcastle last weekend, at least stopping a run of four successive defeats, but which meant they finished the Christmas and New Year fixtures pointless.
This Saturday, Chris Hughton’s side face a daunting proposition as they travel to Liverpool. The Reds have won five of their last six Premier League games at home, and have comfortably beaten Fulham and Sunderland in their last two encounters at Anfield.
That does not mean to say that the hosts will be invulnerable - Aston Villa showed this last month. With arguably a much better squad than Villa, Norwich should arrive with the belief that they firmly have the capabilities to take at least a point back to East Anglia. Last season the visitors’ earned an impressive point in a 1-1 draw. Grant Holt powered home the equaliser.
Previous Premier League history does favour Liverpool, but Norwich can claim one of their most famous victories to be at the legendary ground.
Under the guidance of John Deehan, they recorded a 1-0 win in April 1994. Jeremy Goss scored the only goal, which was the last to be seen infront of the old Kop standing terraces, before it was replaced by an all-seater stand.
But the main ingredient missing from Norwich’s gameplay this season is the lack of a goal scorer, one who is likely to trouble the top scorers’ list.
While Swansea have the magnificent Michu, Southampton can count on Rickie Lambert and Fulham can rely on Dimitar Berbatov’s potency, Norwich have not had this luxury this season.
Holt was top scorer last season, netting 15 league goals and being voted the Canaries’ Player of the Season for the third campaign running. This time around, he has found the going much tougher.
The 31-year-old scored the winner to defeat Arsenal in October, and also found the net at Chelsea and in the earlier fixture against Liverpool this term, which ended in a hefty 5-2 defeat. However, with just four goals in 18 starts - a strike rate of one every four games - it is evident that Norwich have been lacking in the striking department.
Steve Morison has disappointed in his second season with the club, and Simeon Jackson has barely got a look in either. Hughton will have to look at investment this month, and he will have to act quickly as the transfer window shuts in a fortnight’s time.
Norwich scored 13 goals in December but reliance has fallen on the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Anthony Pilkington and the more unfancied defenders in Russell Martin and Sebastien Bassong. Celtic’s Gary Hooper is understood to be the prime attacking target, with Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith also on the shortlist.
Seven points clear of the drop zone, Norwich sit comfortably in 12th, but would like to stop their sticky run of late. A win at Anfield would be the perfect tonic.
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